PHILADELPHIA PA - A MAN WHO FIRED SHOTS IN THE AIR TO STOP A PIT BULL ATTACK ON HIS SMALL DOG WAS ARRESTED FOR RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT - HE WAS TOLD HE SHOULD HAVE SHOT THEM INSTEAD!
A South Philadelphia single father says he’s now facing charges after he fired shots in the air to scare off TWO PIT BULLS that were attacking his dog.
Robert Jefferson, 32, told NBC10 he bought a cocker spaniel named Reid for his son. This past January however, Jefferson says Reid was nearly killed after his neighbor’s two pit bulls began to attack him.
“[Reid] was pulled from out of my backyard under a gate into my neighbor’s backyard by their two pit bulls and was being mauled to death,” Jefferson said. “I first went into the backyard screaming hysterically hoping the pit bulls would stop and my neighbors would come out into the yard and stop the attack but they didn’t initially.”
Jefferson says he then grabbed his legally owned .22 rifle and fired shots in the air in order to scare the dogs away.
“To make it stop without harming my neighbor’s dog,” Jefferson said. “That was the first logical thing.”
Jefferson says his neighbor came out once she heard the shots but the pit bulls continued to attack his dog. He then said he fired another round of warning shots in the air and the pit bulls finally ran back into their owner’s home.
As Jefferson rushed Reid to his bathroom and put him under the shower to check for where he was bleeding, police arrived at his home. Jefferson says he was then arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and showed NBC10 the police report to prove it.
“It’s apparently illegal in Philadelphia to discharge a firearm in the air regardless of the situation which I was unaware of at the time,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson told NBC10 he thought he did the right thing by sending warning shots instead of shooting and possibly killing the pit bulls.
“I honestly had no idea that what I did was illegal and my only objective was to save my dog's life without harming my neighbor's dogs in the process which I actually accomplished,” Jefferson said.
"WHEN THE DETECTIVES CAME THEY TOLD ME THAT I SHOULD'VE GUNNED DOWN THE TWO PIT BULLS TO SAVE MY DOG AND I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ARRESTED BUT THAT WOULD'VE BEEN ANIMAL CRUELTY IN MY OPINION."
SPCA officials told NBC10 owners of small dogs should always keep them away from bigger ones. However, in the midst of an attack, experts say you can stop it by grabbing the attacking dog by the hind legs.
Jefferson says he knows that using a gun should always be the last option but also believes his dog would’ve died if he didn’t take action.
“If I hadn’t acted he would have been mauled to death, honestly,” he said.
Jefferson told NBC10 he’s scheduled to appear in court in April.